Responsibilities

Electricity

It is difficult for a customer to know who is responsible for what equipment in the meter cupboard and on the distribution board. There are three parties involved and each has clear responsibilities.

The diagram below shows what you would typically find in your meter cupboard and the consumer unit. The equipment inside the area defined by the gold line is typically what would be in your meter box.

Electricity equipment responsibilities
Areas of Responsibility at Electrical Intake
  • DB (Distribution Business) or DNO (Distribution Network Operator)
    • Service Cable 1
    • Cut-out or Main Fuse 2
    • Earth Terminal 3
  • Supplier
    • Meter tails between the cut-out, communications hub, meter and timeswitch if fitted 4
    • Communications hub if fitted (Usually on top of the meter) 5
    • Meter 6
    • Timeswitch if fitted 7
  • Customer
    • Meter tails between the meter or timeswitch to the customer's consumer unit or isolating switch if fitted 8
    • Isolating switch if fitted 9
    • Consumer unit 10
    • Earthing conductor and earth block 11
    • Meter Board 12
    • External meter box if fitted.

Some of these terms may need further explanation:

Service cable
This is main cable coming into your house from the cables in the street.
Cut-out
The service cable is terminated in the cut-out, and it contains a fuse.
Tails
Tails are the double insulated wires joining the various items of equipment.
Isolating Switch
Sometimes an additional switch is present to isolate the consumer unit.
Consumer Unit
A consumer unit provides control and protection to the various electrical circuits through a house. In the past consumer units have been known as fuse boxes, fuse boards and dis-board or distribution boards.

So, for any changes to equipment that the DNO or supplier are responsible for you must contact them to carry out the work. For work on equipment that you as a customer are responsible for, you can engage an electrician to carry out the work.

Installation

If a fitter sees a problem when installing an electricity meter and can't continue due to an issue with DNO equipment, the fitter will categorise the issue and send a report (called an E88) to the DNO. The DNO will then contact you directly to arrange a visit. Once the DNO has attended, you should contact your supplier to re-schedule their work.

Category Timescale for DNO to attend
A Emergency - fix will be implemented ASAP
B 4-6 weeks
C 4-6 months

This information is from the document "Guidance for Service Termination Issue Reporting" version 3.7 issued by MOCOPA (Meter Operation Code of Practice Agreement) on 19th July 2021.

Gas

It is difficult for a customer to know who is responsible for what equipment around the gas meter. The diagram below shows what you would typically find in your meter cupboard.

Typical Gas Equipment
Gas Intake Equipment

There are three parties involved and each has clear responsibilities.

  • Gas Transporter
    • Incoming Pipe (Gas Service)
    • Emergency control Value (ECV) or Isolation valve
  • Supplier
    • Inlet pipe to meter (Pliable Connector)
    • Meter Regulator Valve
    • Gas Meter
  • Customer
    • Outgoing pipe from meter
    • Electrical bonding between Utility services.

Some of these terms may need further explanation:

Emergency Control Valve
This valve is usually on the end of the gas pipe from outside the building and can be used to shut off gas to your premises.
Regulator Valve
The regulator valve maintains the gas at a set pressure into the meter. Without the valve the gas pressure can go up and down making your appliances difficult to control.
Equipotential Bonding
Bonding is used to reduce the risk of electric shocks to anyone who may touch two separate metal parts when there is a fault somewhere in the supply of the electrical installation.

So, for any changes to equipment that the Gas Transporter or Supplier are responsible for you must contact them to carry out the work. For work on equipment that you as a customer are responsible for, you can engage any Gas Safe engineer to carry out the work.

Who do I contact?

If you are unsure who to contact for either electricity or gas the Energy Networks Association have a good lookup facility where you enter your postcode, and it will tell you which electricity and gas operator you should contact. Alternatively, the energy bill from your supplier will normally have this information on it.

If you are renting, check with your landlord before taking any action unless it's an emergency.

(Page updated: 2023-11-01)

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